Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse confirmed Sunday that he plans to coach the Canadian national team, starting with the World Cup this summer.
At Toronto’s first media availability since winning the NBA Finals, Nurse told reporters, “I’m getting ready to take another situation soon because I think it’s going to make me a better coach.”
Asked specifically whether he was talking about reports that he would become the coach of Team Canada for the World Cup, Nurse said a deal was “just about done.”
“It’s something I’m looking forward to doing,” he said.
Nurse, 51, said his experience as an assistant coach with Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics was an impetus for wanting to coach Team Canada.
“I learned a lot as a coach in that run and I’m hoping this experience will do the same,” he said.
He added that “there’s some really good players” on the Canadian team. Among the players Nurse might be coaching are Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson, Dallas Mavericks forward Dwight Powell and former Duke forward RJ Barrett, a likely lottery pick in this year’s draft.
“It’s a unique time with the World Cup and the Olympics within a short 13- to 14-month window. And it fits in OK. I’m just giving up some vacation time,” he said.
Canada begins the 2019 World Cup in China on Sept. 1 when it plays Australia.
When the Raptors clinched the NBA title with their Game 6 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night, Nurse became the ninth rookie coach to win a championship in NBA history.
He also won two titles in the NBA’s D-League (now named the G League), with the Iowa Energy in 2011 and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2013.